Celebrate the feast of St. Francis with this simple classroom craft
By Sara Jonckheere
St. Francis of Assisi is often known for his love of animals and nature. There is even a famous story that St. Francis preached to hundreds of birds about giving thanks to God for their clothes, independence and for God’s care. Children commonly associate St. Francis with animals and the outdoors because of stories like this. What better way to celebrate St. Francis than to create a St. Francis Bird Feeder to feed his beloved animals.
Empty toilet paper tube
Wide popsicle stick/tongue depressor
Butter knife/popsicle stick for spreading the peanut butter
OPTIONAL: Hole punch and string
Using the knife, carefully cut two slits in the toilet paper tube for the arms. These slits should be a little less than halfway down the tube. For safety purposes, have an adult do this or prepare this step ahead of time.
Slide the popsicle stick through both slits to look like outstretched arms.
Use the marker to draw a face for St. Francis. Show students some artists’ renderings of St. Francis to help give them an idea.
Take a butter knife or a popsicle stick and spread the peanut butter all over St. Francis’ body and arms.
Sprinkle bird seed all over the peanut butter. You could also gently roll the toilet paper roll in the bird seed and then just sprinkle it on the arms.
Set the feeder over a branch for birds to enjoy. If you want the feeder to hang, punch two holes in the top and tie a string through them. Now, St. Francis’ outstretched arms are waiting for his friends, the birds, to come visit.
Before adding the peanut butter, have older students write a prayer to St. Francis or even the words to the Prayer of St. Francis with marker onto the toilet paper roll. As the birds eat the seed, the prayer will be left behind.
Sara Jonckheere is an elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She now creates digital curriculum and resources and shares teaching ideas on her blog, Sara J Creations.